Skip to main content
7:30 pm
san francisco. i'm honored to serve and work on behalf of all the parents across the city in our network, but i'm also the mother of an african-american son, and i'm a former educator of some of the brightest children that i've ever met at willie brown academy. all of our children are brilliant. we know this. and i would like to thank the elected leaders and community leaders who convened this hearing this evening. you know, i worry not only about the well-being of my former students who are now freshmen in high school, but i also worry about their parents and how well equipped they are to support their children throughout their now high school journey. as studies have documented, a key component to student success are strong school family partnership and solid parent involvement. now, as the powers that be determine whether or not a task force is ultimately convened on
7:31 pm
this very important matter, i implore that you mandate parent representation within this group and a parent education component on the overall matter. there are a wealth of parents facing organizations in the city, magic coleman, parents for public schools and a number of others. please use us as content experts. as you continue to investigate this matter addressing academic achievement, opportunities for african americans, youth and other target groups as well. thank you. >> thank you very much. (applause) >> next speaker, please. hi, there. [speaker not understood] shackle ford. i'm with the san francisco youth commission. right now i'm speaking as myself. we haven't made a formal comment on this. we all have our own joint educational committee with the sac and youth commissioners who are interested in education and they're very interested in this issue.
7:32 pm
you'll probably hear from us at some point. but i just wanted to bring up for a second the accessibility of these programs because having more doesn't really mean figure if they're not accessible. at my school you have to pay $60 for. so, if you want to take an internet or credit course, you're told you have to pay $60. * anything i'm sure there is a service that lets low-income youth do this without pay. i'm not sure if someone in the school district can do that. a lot of it has to be done with outreach to parents and students to tell them they don't necessarily have to pay a huge amount of money to make up their credits because public education is supposed to be free. thank you. >> thank you. actually, commissioner, did you have a question? >> mr. armentraut, can we get follow-up on that? this is the first time i've heard students had to pay to receive credit recovery course. >> we'll make sure we follow-up. next speaker, please.
7:33 pm
hello, my name is brenda barrels and i have like four grand kids that are in the public school system. and i have one of my grand sons that started off the first four five years of school with straight as. and after that i don't know what happened in the following year in the sixth year, in the sixth grade, but everything fell apart. he doesn't want to go to school. now he's in high school. he doesn't want to go to school at all. we can't get him to go to school. so, something happened within the schools that turned this kid who loved to learn, was an honor student, and turned him into somebody who everybody walking on the street would be like the community problem. so, this is very important. i didn't even know thises what going to be here today, but i'm glad i found out about it. and to me one of the things, discrimination is a problem in
7:34 pm
the schools. and until there is a really seriously dealt with, until you admit that it's a problem and really deal with it, more and more african-american kids are going to have this problem. because many of them don't feel wanted in the schools. they don't feel like they're put in the schools where it might be a few scattered black kids amongst a group of another race. and they're treated like they're not wanted. and they feel like they're not wanted and they behave as if they're not wanted. so, to me money is not the only problem to the solution. it's where the money is spent. and i think kid have to be much more involved in the design of their school system. (applause) >> thank you. next speaker. good afternoon. my name is carol tatum and i came to san francisco from
7:35 pm
mobile, alabama in 1955. so, i went to james dylan. i went to balboa. i went to san francisco state, and sometimes i went to city college. and i didn't too bad. but in the '80s i worked on 3rd street and in the summer you have young people come in to work. and i had a difficult time trying to get them to do the things that i asked. and, so, i kept trying to figure out, what is wrong here? so, i decided that i would ask each child to write an essay as to why you want to be here. and what i found was that some of them would write an entire page, it would not have one punctuation mark in it. some of them could not spell, could not construct sentences. so, supervisor cohen, you ask
7:36 pm
how long. that was in the '80s. so, what we have today is children who are the children of the children from that time. so, this thing has continued. somebody mentioned the prison pipeline today. that is very real and it is very scary. and we jail a lot of young black men in san francisco. $50,000 a year it costs to keep a person in prison, plus the cost to the family economically. transportation to visit, the commissary, the telephone, the e-mail, all of that. and, so, it is a crime. we're all guilty. we're guilty of where we have arrived with our children in this public school system. it didn't start yesterday. it has been going on -- we've been talking about this -- and i came here [speaker not understood]. now we're down to 5 to 6% and people in the public and
7:37 pm
subsidized housing -- >> thank you, ma'am. that says something about the economic health of the african americans in the citiful [speaker not understood]. >> thank you very much. next speaker. (applause) good afternoon, my name is [speaker not understood]. i am the director of homey. we're going to speak on a different item, but i want to address the joint committee here. i just want to take this problem maybe from the other end and just say that 80% of the men that are in the cdc don't have high school diplomas. and they don't have geds. and, so, and the ones that are coming out of prison that are 18 to 24, i've got some stats here, 80% don't have, like i said, 80% don't have a ged or high school diploma. 75% are unemployed. 20% are diagnosed with mental health illness, and 80% have
7:38 pm
substance abuse problems. so, we're looking at it from one end, but i just kind of want to make everybody -- enlighten you on the other end. what happens is that 75% of the people who commit crimes are coming out of prison, violent parole. things are happening on the other end in terms of violence prevention. so, i think in order for to us really, really shall -- this is a key for violence prevention, not just for education. if we can address this issue, this a through g trying to get young people into college, trying to get them a high school diploma, we reduce this number and we reduce the risk number for violence prevention, we could get them off the street. i want to emphasize this is a key position. keep in mind this is really important factor not just for education, but also for violence prevention. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. alfaro. next speaker, please.
7:39 pm
(applause) hello, good afternoon. my name is [speaker not understood], [speaker not understood] for change. i want to say that since i've been kind of involved in community, it seems like we are down here every couple years to have a hearing. and nothing gets solved. so, i'm really here to speak to the people because [speaker not understood]. we wouldn't get nothing done by coming out here. every couple years we do election for new supervisors, new education boards. i don't feel like nothing is getting done. so, it's a cry out for us and the community to get together and do some family literacy, do some family violence prevention, educational system don't have a curriculum for taking african americans no history. it's all about slavery, about columbus discovered america. he ain't discover no america. abraham lincoln didn't free the slaves because it was a good thing to do. it was decided on union. so, we need to get down to the
7:40 pm
history books. and when they teach our children the history of how we became great people, how we made these great inventions and things, the school don't teach us. and we wonder why young folks are out there hanging on the streets and saying people keep saying it's a family generation now of schools that is just ridiculous now. everywhere in my community there is a charter school. i don't even know if it's a public school in my community any more. and the charter schools, our kids can't go to the charter schools. we've got a charter school sitting right there on old golden gate he will remitery and i'm not sure if one child in our community goes to that school. but hey, we're going to celebrate our eighth annual black family day this saturday and next year we're really going to commit to dealing with our black families. without a grant from dcyf, anybody else who will get together in this community, we'll change our whole community. i don't believe that city hall has the answer. it hasn't had the answer.
7:41 pm
we've been from newsome to willie brown now to mayor lee. i don't think city hall has the answer. (applause) >> thank you very much. next speaker. i wanted to kind of get back up. i made a couple notes and a couple things i wanted to first and foremost echo mr. ace on the case. because i really appreciate, first and foremost, supervisor olague for entertaining the conversation around hosting the hearing. (applause) and also had conversations with supervisor cohen and supervisor campos. and, actually a lot of what you've heard just now, people said they did not believe the hearing would actually happen, that we didn't really want to shed a light on what was going on, and that this idea that san francisco does not want black people here and that all of this is a concerted effort to get people out. so, i appreciate that this was hosted and that we've been able to move forward. i also want to acknowledge
7:42 pm
commissioners fewer, mendoza and maufus. i really appreciate the work that commissionerv mendoza has done to be able to help us do some things in terms of community based organizations and being able to advocate. i'm very happy to be able to consider commissioner fewer an ally and appreciate the comments that she made because in the words of pastor harris who just spoke, it's not going to really happen just with the school district or with the board of is ups. we have to engage the community and the parents and everyone. * sups. i think in terms of policy and making changes, we have to begin the dialogue here because you all sit in policy making body. with regard to the board of education and board of sups, i'd like to see -- hover is gone. in terms of institutional history and leveraging more, how that happened and maybe didn't happen or what was
7:43 pm
supposed to happen, really beginning to engage and have conversations around that, but beginning to drill down and actually have some movement. i think that it's important to have people who know the history but also have people who are living right now to make decisions to leave the city because of [inaudible]. some of the other things. >> thank you. thank you. >> is there any other member of the public who has not spoken who would like to speak? seeing none, public comment is closed. colleagues, we have another also pretty substantive item that is still on the agenda. but i want to give you wang opportunity to make some wrapping remarks. obviously there's not going to be a solution for this very complicated issue, but i think it's important for us that we continue to talk about it. so, with that, supervisor olague. >> i want to make sure that, miss davis, were you able to complete your comment? did you have something? because it seemed like the clock went off --
7:44 pm
the one thing i started to say, i know you all work really closely with dcyf and the school district. convening somebody that has in the same way that you operate, dcyf, representation from the board of ed. as well as the school district and families and parents because you all are funding things and the people who really know whether it's working or not are not in the room when you make the decisions about how to continue funding or whether it's really effective. so, as you talk about convening more groups, or you talk about what the standards look like, i feel like, you know, the school district and teachers have all these things that they have to check off the list. they have to make sure they're meeting these outcomes. it's not the same and you're funding people to do support work for teachers and they don't even know what the teachers are supposed to be doing. i think that has to be a little bet better aligned. i mentioned hoover because he ran some numbers for me. we think about discrimination and the majority of our schools, aside from maybe some of the high schools, don't have 100 black students in them.
7:45 pm
and you're talking about really being a minority. and to ms. tatum's point about most of the folks that are african-american that live here, most of them live in public housing and there is a stigma associated with that or living in hud housing. you know, you come into it living in a very -- a neighborhood that people think is bad or you live in a population -- a pocket where people think it's bad. and it's hard to come in and feel great about yourself, especially if the teachers are like, oh, they're from that spot over there. so, i just think there are all these factors that need to be explored more and i really do hope between the hrc and this committee we can begin to do more work to partner with the folks in the neighborhood who are most impacted. (applause) >> i'll just say some really, really quick comments because i know there is another item after this that's pretty significant. but i want to thank everyone for coming out. and i do agree with the what pastor harris said. it has to come from the bottom up.
7:46 pm
there has to be some will that come directly from the community. ultimately i think that in our school system, i think systemically there is still a lot of prejudice. i really believe there is still a lot of racism. i'm not calling anyone a racist. that's not what i'm implying. but i think sometimes there are lesser expectations of students of color and that then, especially when i'm listening to the statement that was read from coleman advocates, or that one student really feels that, you know, when a teacher tells you, well, you have to go to city college because i just don't think you have the whatever to make it at a uc or the state college, then i think you're setting somebody up. they internalize that, then. i think you're setting somebody up for failure. so, i think that eventually, you know, if we do decide it should come out of this body whether we're going to have a task force that we want to
7:47 pm
create, you know, through the board or whatever to really have more targeted conversations about that, that would be up to you all i guess or to all of us to decide that. then it should be a body, i think, that does include students because i think we need student input. they're the ones that are experiencing whatever it is they are directly. and again, as i mentioned earlier, i think those are sometimes things that are really hard to measure. and then finally, i think -- well, we have a lot of work to do. and i think i'm glad to see that the housing authority folks are here because i think that's something we really focus a lot of attention on out of our office. so, i'm glad to see that you will all are here even though it is just a housing body. the reality is many of the people that live -- that are african-american that do remain in san francisco live in one of these -- at one of these sites. so, i think that we need to have a healthy way of engaging
7:48 pm
people who live in these communities. and we have talked before several times with kyle and with director alvarez, the importance of making sure that there is programming on-site. and i know that maybe the money is not there, but i think we need to find out, then, how to collaborate with some of the cbos and others around the after school stuff, around the mental health delivery services and that sort of thing. so, i think it's always important that when we engage in these conversations that we have a healthy dialogue and relationship with you all because you need to be part of this conversation as well. so, again, i'm not sure where we'll go. i think the idea of having a really concentrated conversation about this issue is not a bad one, but i do hope that when we do have that conversation that the young people that are directly affected and that face most of these challenges within the educational system are part of the conversation. so, if we have a task force we should have at least three
7:49 pm
student seats or something like that. >> thank you, supervisor olague. commissioner mendoza? >> thank you. this is a very, this is a very great and difficult conversation to have. and i just want to thank everyone for being here because this is a dialogue that we need to continue to have. and i just have several comments that i want to make. as i'm listening to folks that have shared their perspective and view and the solutions that folks have, i want to be really clear that on the district side, that this is the main focus and priority of the work that we do, that this is the reason that i think many of the board members continue to stay and work hard, particularly around these topics. and that this isn't something
7:50 pm
that has always been viewed the same way that this board is viewing it. and i really think that there is political will and a big push on the priority piece of this. and having said that, i think we also have an amazing staff that's helping to try to move this along. but as many of you know, this is, as one of the comments that were made, this is 50 years in the making, 60 years in the making and we're trying to undo a wrong for so many of our kids and our families. i want to highlight that the work that we've seen in our superintendent zone with the sig funding that we've actually seen some growth and we are moving toward the full-service model, and that we actually had to fight our families around what, what good looks like.
7:51 pm
and it was a really difficult conversation for us to have with our families because so much of our education system is rooted in mediocrity. so, trying to convince our families that there is a better should not have been a conversation we were spending any time on, and we did. and it took us a year to get through that. there has been growth in the last three years. it's slow, and it's not enough and we acknowledge that. we're starting to see a lot of the blending of services both at the city and the school district, which include after school and out of school time. and i think that that has been a tremendous support for so many of our kids. but i also want to acknowledge that all of our 21st century funding has been eliminated in our high schools and that has impact. and these are the constant things that we're dealing with. we work off of a budget that's projected and then we're told
7:52 pm
you really don't have that money. so, the scaling up and then scaling back is just part of our reality. and it's not an excuse, but it's a reality. but we continue to invest in our communities and we continue to invest in our schools. and i think for somebody who not only sits on the board, but sits in the city, that that's something that we all strive to, to accomplish. sending our kids to school, having the school be a safe place and extending opportunities are all areas that i think are really crucial. we have many partners in making all of us work. and supervisor cohen had asked where are the issues. and there's many issues and it includes parent involvement and employment and health care and mental health and the poverty that strikes so many of our communities. and the poverty is directly affecting the academic achievement in our students.
7:53 pm
and, so, yes, this is an entire community issue. this isn't the school district. this isn't the city. this is our issue and we have to address it as ours. there are organizations like college track and y city beacons in our wellness centers. all of these are helping us to move forward and we need to continue to invest in those organizations. i want to make two controversial comments, and i say this with a knot in my stomach, but i say this, not only do i now live in the bayview, but i have two kid that are now in high school. and i have to watch our babies throughout the bayview struggle. and i, i want to put on us a vehicle. the things that we allow to happen [speaker not understood] and the liquor store on every single corner in our neighborhood, that is not a school district issue. it's all of us. it's a community issue.
7:54 pm
and we need to be bold enough to stand up against those issues. and the other thing that i want to say -- and i say this with all due respect, but the idea that we're delaying the building of a brand-new state-of-the-art middle school that was not serving our kids in the bayview hunters point because we're not employing enough folks is challenging for me. and i say this wholeheartedly because there are members of our board that are fighting to ensure that local higher happen in our school district, which we are not mandated to do. but we will fight to make sure that local higher becomes a priority for the school district as well as for the city. but to prevent a school in the bayview to not be built, to be delayed so that our kids cannot come back to their community and thrive in their community in a brand-new building is disheartening to me. and i hope that we can all come together to figure out a way to
7:55 pm
make sure that that building gets built. thank you. (applause) >> thank you very much. if i may just add a couple comments. i know we have a very complicated item on the agenda. you know, in a prior life i actually represented the san francisco unified school district as a lawyer on the consent decree case. one thing to remember is that san francisco unified was actually under court order for more than two decades because of discrimination. and a federal court order, you know, overseeing the operations of the school district could not fully address all of the issues that we're talking about . and during that time each year the school district was getting about $40 million from the state to address those issues. so, just to provide some context. so, my suggestion would be to the folks, the supervisors who requested this hearing and to
7:56 pm
many of the people that i hear, i do think it would be helpful so that we don't have a situation where we talk about this and nothing happens, to set up a small working group to come up with some suggestions in terms of moving forward whether it's the creation of a task force, whether it is, you know, something larger, because the reality is that we're talking about public education. but there are so many different issues that are a part of this that this would be a disservice to the community if we only, you know, tackled that issue. and i think that what commissioner mendoza said is absolutely true, that the school district is not going to be able to deal with this on its own. there are so many different issues that have to be a part of the discussion. so, my suggestion would be that, that it may be through supervisor olague's office that we form a small working group of folks, and then come back, you know, to the committee, that we continue this item to the call of the chair so that we have an ongoing discussion.
7:57 pm
but i think it's really important to the members of the community who took the time to be here, to make sure that we don't drop this ball, if you will, and that we do -- that we continue to move this forward. i do want to acknowledge the deputy superintendent to see if he wants to add anything to this presentation. you know, it's not easy for a school district to have these issues discussed in this way, and i appreciate the fact that we are having the discussion and that the school district is a part of that. >> thank you. and we won't shy away from the dialogue. it is a courageous one, an important one we need to have. our strategic plan is built on. we did our leadership commission, [speaker not understood] to make sure we address this issue, that we narrow the gap. you have our pledge, our commitment to be a part of any city-wide collaboration. we know we're a key -- we share
7:58 pm
responsibility on this topic and you can count on us to be here. we had lots of our senior district leaders here listening, learning, taking notes, and we need to do more of that. so, thank you for the opportunity for this first sharing of information. we were kind of talking here about want to make sure we put together a portfolio of a lot of kind of thorough numbers and statistics that folks have begun to question and will continue to do more of that. but thank you for the opportunity today. >> thank you. again, so, thank you again to the school district dcyf, coleman advocate, members of the community who have been working on these issues, thank you to all the agencies. so, colleagues, can we have a motion to continue this to the call of the chair, and we will follow-up. so, we have a motion by supervisor olague, seconded by commissioner maufus. if we can take that without objection. and, again, we will continue to monitor the situation and we will come back. and, so, i urge this working
7:59 pm
group to get together sooner rather than later so that we can continue to move this forward. thank you again. madam secretary, can you call item number 3? >> thank you, supervisor. it is file number 120 8 92, and it is the memorandum of understanding between the sfusd and the san francisco police department. >> this is an item that i introduced at the board of supervisors at the request of commissioner maufus. it is a very important item and one that is actually complicated and i want to thank also the youth commission and so many of the youth that have been working on these issues. i'll be honest. you know, it's more of an open question to my colleagues, to the school district, and to the community as well. this is a very complicated issue and one that i think deserves and requires adequate discussion. i do